Special Needs Transition Timeline Series (14-Year-Old)
The transition from special needs student to functioning adults begins with indicating goals and challenges within the already existing student’s respective IEP (Individualized Education Program), begins at the age of 14.
As required by a state’s specific special education rules and regulations, the IEP is usually reviewed on a yearly basis allowing the transition plan to be adjusted and evaluated accordingly. We begin teaching and helping the student based upon their respective disabilities to acquire and build upon appropriate behaviors for the work environment.
Family Planning for Starters
While the IEP will focus on specific school programs supporting them learning the beginnings of life skills and soft skills necessary for the transition to be successful, parents can to the best of their abilities begin to support some simple skills sets of responsibilities at home ranging from chores to personal grooming. But be aware that the school is not responsible for monitoring “at-home” goals.
Emergency preparedness is an important topic as students enter society. Developing a family plan is a good idea. As for the future, setting up a Special Needs Trust can be addressed, if applicable. Even end-of-life plans may be brought up. It is never too early.
The School’s Role during this age bracket
As mentioned earlier, the IEP is evaluated yearly and any concerns or questions pertaining to the specifics of transition should be in writing. Any need for assistive technology (AT) devices, behavioral support should be written into the IEP. Students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities, school activities, create partnerships and build relationships to the best of their abilities. It helps to think of the IEP as a “whole unit” of goals from year-to-year to better serve the individual students’ goals from 14-21.
Healthcare Planning (First Steps)
While our goal will always be to afford our students all the opportunities that students without disabilities receive, we must remain ever-vigilant when it comes to their disabilities. It is a matter of health and health coverage. Ask questions at doctor appointments. If you are on Medicaid, be sure to obtain EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment) services, which is their child health component.
Create a list of contacts for doctors, therapists, equipment vendors, etc., in case of emergency. Seek out care management through your insurance company to help with services and needs. Develop the following: a portable medical summary that includes medications and a family medical history.
These will be concurrent throughout a child’s transition to adulthood. At this age, we teach them how to order meals at food establishments and pay for items at the store on their own (such as during a school field trip). When applicable, we will support them to be able to learn how to use a mobile phone, if applicable. Most importantly, we continue to increase the independence of activities of daily living, such as dressing, feeding, grooming, and functional life skills such in both math and reading.
“While the transition articles series strives to cover a range of important milestone markers that parents need to be concerned with as their child progresses through the various age groups, their own individual challenges may dictate what are the best options and resources that have proven best over time. Please be sure to fully discuss “all” of the recommendations outlined here with your support team”.
Request a Tour of The Gateway School
Since 1980, RKS Associates has been a leader in providing the needs of special education students and helping children grow to their fullest potential. Each of our schools seeks to empower each student with skills for life, work, and recreation; we believe that every individual possesses the dignity and potential to contribute to a better world.
As part of the RKS Associates Network of schools in New Jersey, the goal at the Gateway School is to assist all students in becoming as independent as possible and help them get ready for the future. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at our main office at 732.541.4400 with any questions or schedule a private tour of the Gateway School today.
Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School of Carteret, NJ